The Chinese government is not subtle about what it wants you to believe about its opinions on world events.
Its message is packaged and distributed quite neatly in the various voices of the country’s state media. And that’s all media.
That’s how we know the Chinese government’s feelings about the Republican National Convention (RNC) and the Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump.
“Trump’s rise is an alert not only to the US, but also to the Western world,” said an editorial in The Global Times, a Chinese state-media outlet and mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). “The US has been proud for decades of its political, economic and social vitality as a role model for Western democracies and an attraction to the rest. However, the prevalence of Trumpism is ruining the aura.”
It should shock no one that Trump’s protectionist stances rub China the wrong way. The Global Times wrote that Trump’s “China-bashing, although a routine tactic in the US presidential season, is one of the harshest,” and that it is a sign of “desperation” from his camp.
But rather than veering into talking about how great China is and will be, as is common in Chinese propaganda, this editorial was about only the US, and about only Donald Trump’s main message: fear. It denounced the GOP’s entire 66-page platform, expressing astonishment that Trump was able to manipulate it as he has.
“Just like Trump’s previous campaign, the convention is a continuity of his winning strategy – instigating fear, resentment and antagonism among the public.As a master of manipulating negativity, he is capitalizing on the confusion and insecurity of the US working class,” said the editorial.
Xinhua, another CCP organ, said flat out that electing Trump would hurt US workers. It also managed to throw in a little shade about Trump’s stance on China, pointing out that his daughter Ivanka’s products are made in China.
“Ironically, even Trump couldn’t stick to his promise to have more products made in the U.S. when it comes to his own businesses,” Xinhua wrote.
That said, Wall Street isn’t totally convinced that a Trump presidency would be that terrible for China. Here’s Nomura on its impact from a note published on Monday morning:
“[A] Trump presidency may lead to a smaller trade surplus and more capital outflows due to increased trade frictions and geopolitical risks in the region. However, we believe the impact should be limited, as China and the US have more common interests than conflicts in the region. China is not only a major exporter but also a large importer from the US (some 8% of US exports were destined for China in 2015). Moreover, China’s ODI to the US has surged while the pace of US FDI to China has moderated … So, although a trade war is possible, it would unlikely lead to a collapse of fundamental cooperation between the two nations. Furthermore, China is relying more on domestic demand and less on external demand, as suggested by a declining trade dependence ratio … which makes it less vulnerable to foreign shocks.”
It’s hard to imagine that this isn’t a conversation in the halls of China’s government right now, especially at the People’s Bank of China. And perhaps some have even taken Nomura’s ambivalently neutral view on the topic.
Still, no person or country likes to be insulted and blamed for another person or country’s problems.
Just ask Ted Cruz.